Monthly Archives: June 2009

Some pictures from this wonderful day:

One of my friends came in the other night, her baby on one arm, and in the other, this beautiful gift–

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I cast about to see where I could hang it and this seemed like a good place.
Certain Man hung a hook right away, and it is so pretty.

Today our married children and their spouses were here for lunch.
Charis gets more and more personality every day.
She has learned to blow spit bubbles.
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Her mama put her on the hammock and she enjoyed it.

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Of course, there is no place quite like Mama’s hip to see the world!

Christina and Charis were watching the boys play a new game.
Ryan Kauffman made this game and it is quite a hit.
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It has the glamorous name of
EDIT:  “Cornhole”
and the object is to toss corn bags through the hole
from a great distance away.

Here are a few pictures I took this afternoon while the boys were playing:
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Lem takes careful aim

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David looks to see if his latest effort meets with success!

Jesse, Raph, Lem, Gabe, David, and Ryan made up the three teams.
And I, impartial as I am, cannot remember who won —
But it was still fun to watch!

After everyone had gone home, I decided to take a trip out to see Certain Man’s garden.
It is really coming along nicely.

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Some of you have wondered about the tomato racks that he was working on.
This picture shows them pretty well, as do some of the others.
This picture also shows his wonderful provision for his pole limas.
People can’t believe it, but we have learned that we need to space them out really far, and give them room to grow. (Thanks, Mark,jr.!!!) and then getting them to grow high seems to help, too.
This pole, wire and string creation is one of the most attractive, sturdy, and practical systems I have ever seen.

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Another view.  Those are red potatoes in the foreground.

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Here he has started the second row of poles for another row of limas.
This is the first year he has planted two rows.  I am so grateful for a second row.
I probably still won’t have as many as we would like, but it will be some better!

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We already have:
 fresh red potatoes
yellow squash
green peppers
onions
His tomatoes and butternut squash are healthy and strong
and his starts of rhubarb and asparagus are coming right along.
He’s a little upset because his ground cherry plants haven’t come up in their old location.
He would really like to get them transplanted.  He might just have to start them again.

It has been a great Sunday here at Shady Acres.
Tonight I remembered that I have a Case Manager coming in the morning.
I haven’t done a speck of my paper work for her yet.
Yikes!
Guess who’s gonna’ need to get up really, really early???

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Charis and her Daddy at the beach

Okay, now I’m bragging!

This is Charis and Her Daddy on her first trip to the Beach!

(You can tell she doesn’t like it at all, can’t you?)

 

 

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Some of you are acquainted with Albert and Katie Mast through Albert’s xanga page at www.xanga.com/I_will_be_Okay

A couple of weeks ago, Albert sent us a message that said he and Katie were coming east and would like to stop in and visit us.  Certain man and I were so tickled!  As the weeks have passed, and the details have been worked out, we have been eagerly anticipating their visit. We’ve done some talking about having a potluck picnic on the night of June 29th (Monday evening) and inviting those of you who are interested in coming for the evening.  If you would like to be included, would you please call me at 302-422-5952, and tell me who is coming and what you would like to bring to the picnic.  We will fill you in on the details.  Thanks!!!

 

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This weekend was Father’s day.
I got this picture of Certain Man and his grandbaby on Sunday afternoon:

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Charis likes her Daddy and her Grandpas just fine,
Thank you very much.
(And she has all three of them pretty much wrapped around her finger, too!)

 

 

It was also the first anniversary of Youngest Son and His Gal Jess.  I got this out on our deck just before they left on Sunday afternoon.
(Just in case you didn’t know, they now live in Philadelphia.)

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Happy Anniversary, you two!!! 
We’re so glad you found each other.

Of course, our girlies were (are, still) in Europe.
Oldest Son and His Gal Gina were in Ohio.
It is never “right” when we are missing part of the puzzle,
But it was still a great time together.

 

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Hearing Aids and Such . . .

This morning it was the day for Our Girl Audrey to have her hearing aid fixed down at Millsboro.  We fight with hearing aids all the time — they don’t work.  They do, but they whistle.  By the way.  Can someone tell me how anyone can bear to walk around wearing a hearing aid that is whistling and whistling and whistling?

 I’ve been known to hear it going on and on from another part of the house and hope and hope she will fix it and finally, when I can bear it no longer, go to her and say, “Audrey, what’s wrong with your hearing aid?” 

“I doan know.  Is’s whis’lin,” she’ll say and begin to fumble around with it. 

“Can you fix it?” I’ll ask hopefully. 

“I doan know.  Mebbe.”  And she will turn it back a little and it will quiet down and that will be it for a few days. 

Somehow she split the ear mold a some weeks ago and the tube wouldn’t stay in it.  Because the tube wouldn’t stay in it, she often came to me for help, and we could pretty much keep it in and running.  One morning when she hadn’t asked me for help get it in, she came to me and said, “I doan know wha’s wrong wif my hearin aid.  It jus ain’ workin’.”  I looked at it, and it didn’t look right the way it was in her ear, so I took it out for her.  She had run the tubing into the little hole that opens into the ear canal, and then around, pinched it between the ear mold and her ear canal, and then up to the mechanical part.  Of course she couldn’t hear a thing that way.  It would have been more like using an ear plug than anything else.  We got it arranged right and it worked again for awhile.

I never really know how to feel about Audrey’s hearing aids.  They are a wonderful connection to real life for her, and make it possible for her to be a part of conversations and comforting exchanges and family living.  But sometimes Audrey doesn’t see them that way.  And when she is in a situation she would just as soon not be in, she will leave them out.  Or, if she thinks I will call her on not wearing them, she will wear them, but turn them flat off.  Like when she goes to church.  Don’t ask me why, but she will almost never have them turned on at church.  It isolates her and makes her feel out of it. 

She says, “People jus’ talkin’  ’bout me anyways.  That preacher jus’ sayin’ stuff all the time,” and nothing will change her mind.  I have talked until I’ve run out of ideas but she is still so sure that everything said pertains to her and she isn’t about to hear it.

She is not nearly as paranoid as she was when she first came to us.  I remember riding down the road and whenever we would see something that she didn’t think looked right (those round basketball type things on the electric wires, or the little round things by the traffic signals, or even people just going by in their cars) she would say, “I know it, Mar’ann!  They’re jus’ takin’ my pitcher.  Everywhere I go.  People is watchin’ me an’ takin’ my pitcher.” 

One day I said, “Audrey, if they are taking your picture, they are taking mine, too.  ‘Cause I’m with you.  You know what?  You and I must be terribly important people for them to be taking our pictures all the time.  I wonder what they are going to do with all those pictures.”

She pondered that awhile and it suddenly struck her funny bone.  She giggled and said, “I doan know!  All I know is they’re takin’ my pitcher.”  But I could see she was thinking about it. 

So I used that tactic each time she brought it up.  “Yep,” I’d say when she complained, “It’s how we are, Audrey.  You and me!  So important that they’ve set up cameras everywhere just to see what we’re doing!”  She would always giggle and gradually that little quirk has faded into almost non-existance.

Today we went on down to Millsboro, and the Audiologist was waiting for us.  He put her new ear mold in and checked her hearing aid.  “It’s been giving her some problems,” I said.  “She complains that it cuts out on her and she can’t hear anything, and then it will come back on and do okay for a while.” 

He checked it all over thoroughly, and listened to it with his stethoscope.  “It’s working fine,” he said.  “I don’t see anything wrong with at all.”  He put it in, and adjusted it and asked her how it was.

“Is’s fine.” she said happily.  “Works good.”  We sat and talked just a bit more about billing and such and all of the sudden she said, “It isn’ right.  Sumpin doan soun’ right.”  She fingered the control, and he asked her a few questions.  “It jus ain’ righ’ somehow,” she insisted.  “I doan know how, but it jus’ doan soun’ righ'”

He patiently took it back out, rechecked it, found nothing wrong, put it back in her ear and asked her if it was better now.  I could tell by the look on her face that she still wasn’t satisfied, but she said, “Is’s alrigh’.  I can hear.” and we finished paperwork and got on the road to Milford.  I took her to center, and then I came on home.

I’ve been thinking about selective hearing alot today, and thinking about how sometimes the very thing that is supposed to help me hear my brothers and sisters better becomes an ear plug — because I’m not using the tool correctly.  I’ve pondered, too, the whole thing of just “turning it off” when I am in a situation where I’m uncomfortable.  How often to I shut out the very words and conversations that would draw me in, fill up the empty places in my heart, make me feel like I belong?  Simply because I am afraid? Or paranoid?  Or because I want to hide? 

And what makes me sometimes feel like someone is taking a picture of everything in my life to store for future use against me somehow, somewhere, some day, some way?  I believe the sense that someone is watching is a very honest thing — because God is watching.  As His child, that should give me courage and comfort and a sense of security.  Not paranoia.  And whatever self inflated images I may have of my own importance, my fellow men probably think of me a whole lot less often than I would imagine.    This is good!

So I need to get those spiritual hearing aids in order and USE them.  I need to polish my spiritual eye glasses and use my “prescription” Son glasses — to see life through His filter!  I’m quite sure the problem isn’t with the equipment.  I guess that means it resides with the user.

 

 

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Letter from Deborah

Dear Mom,

Just a note to say that we are once again safe in a hostel. We stayed at the Milan train station last night, and it was fine, although a lot uncomfortable.
 
I tried to twitter where we were the night before- did it come through?
 
We had an amazing night in Andorra at a campground, staying in a little room called “Refugi”. It was a refuge for us. Our bus left for France the next morning at 0500, and our bus driver got us to Toulouse, France, faster than I would have thought possible. From there we caught the train to Marsailles and we went to the Chateau D’if! We had a little over an hour between trains in Marsailles, and ran down to the waterfront, caught a ferry to the island, jumped out, took a picture, jumped back on, ran back to the train station and made our train with 5 minutes to spare! It was great!
 
We saw the Duomo of Italy today, walked up 463 stairs to the top, and looked out all over the city. Yea! Then we walked over to the Academy Gallery (English name), and saw David. Both Rachel and Holly agreed with me that he was worth every penny to see. We’ll see if they’ll think the same thing about the other two museums tomorrow.
 
I wrote on my facebook that you would be posting updates for me, so if you would, I would be grateful. We only get 45 minutes online, and I need to hurry. We do want to get some pictures, and the boys said they would post some, but they wanted a comment, because NO ONE comments on their blog. 🙂
 
And I also wanted to give Dad a message. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, DADDY! Rach and I both love you and miss you. We saw a clock today that is a 24 hour clock that ran backwards, I took a picture, and we thought about you. We also saw a garden that reminded us of you in Spain. I just wanted to let you know that we will be thinking of you tomorrow, and each day. Love you very much Daddy!
 
Love you very much, and I miss you. I hope you have a wonderful day, tell Laws hi from us if you get this in time.
And I’ll write again when I get the chance.
 
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!
 
Deborah (and Rachel for the part for Dad)

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The children of Bert and Sarah Slaubaugh are having a 30th wedding anniversary celebration for them today.

It was to have been held here at our pavilion, with the rain location being at Greenwood Mennonite Church’s basement.  However, the church basement was reserved for another event, so they needed to find another place.

It’s beginning to rain, and even though we would love to have it here, it isn’t feasible.  So this is the semi-official notification to any who might be interested:

The anniversary celebration for Bert and Sarah Slaubaugh which was to be held in the pavilion at Shady Acres is being moved to Tressler Mennonite Church’s Fellowship Hall.  Friends and family are welcome to drop in from 1-6 today.  We  hope to have Many of you turn out to encourage and affirm this couple who has contributed so much to our lives individually and the community at large.

Hope to see you there!!! 

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I’m so homesick for my girlies tonight.  I’ve been thinking about how the tenor of a home changes when the population of the house shifts.

We still have Audrey and Linda, but it isn’t the same as having “children” at home.  Certain Man and I have talked more, laughed much, and enjoyed the quiet some of the time.  We figured out that the last time we were “childless” was November of 1975.  We took our first foster baby in early December, and life as we knew it changed forever.  Six months after Joseph came to live with us, we took a second foster toddler, and since then (like for the last 33 years) there have been at least two “children” living with us.

Parenting has been the most challenging, most defining, most rewarding, most devastating thing that has ever happened to us.  Many are the tales of parenting bringing a wedge between a couple, of looking across the table on the morning of an empty nest and feeling like there is no connection to this person who has parented with you.  How grateful I am to our Heavenly Father, and to my husband that it has done practically the opposite for us.  In the months before our first foster baby came to live with us, our very young marriage was tested severely as I learned that my expectations and selfish dreams drove my husband farther and farther away from me.  Panic and desperation and grief and disappointment made me into a person that was something so much less than my husband had expected, and into someone I didn’t know myself — was this what marriage was really supposed to be like? 

We both wanted children, but when our first two, very planned pregnancies ended in miscarriage, somehow the stories started, then flew fast and furious about how I really didn’t want them anyhow, and that I would be alot better off if I would just own up to that fact.  I was broken by the grief, my family was so far away, and it seemed like both of us were just retreating into our own worlds.  I look back now, and realize how devastated we both were by the losses, and I wish that I could go back there and do things differently.  I remember that when I was miscarrying the second baby, I told Daniel that I needed to go to the hospital, and I went to pack a bag.  He didn’t come in to help me, he just stayed out in the living room where he was.  When I came back out to tell him that I was ready to go, he was sitting in the terrible orange recliner that we had rescued from the garbage, and he was weeping.  I remember feeling very surprised, but then extremely tender towards this guy who loved our child so intensely.

I had no idea what sort of daddy he would be, but with our first foster child came an amazing discovery.  A baby in the house made a startling change in Daniel.  He was an involved, caring and delighted daddy.  He loved children with an intensity that I could hardly comprehend.  And as he involved himself in the lives of the children that went in and out of our doors, it became natural for him to relate to me in a different, more tender way.  He began to make it his business to understand me and what made me tick.  He became more articulate about his feelings, more patient, more committed to our marriage and our home.  It was an incredible gift to the children that we were allowed to love, but the by-product of that gift was a renewed sense of balance, self esteem and joy in my life. 

You would all know that if I said it has been easy ever since, I would be lying.  It hasn’t.  We continue to grow and change and sometimes disagree.  I’ve learned that arguing with Daniel Yutzy is an exercise in futility.  (He makes up the rules as he goes, and it just doesn’t work that way!)  But I’ve also learned that no one could or would provide for, love me, or encourage me the way he does.  He has learned that I don’t shut cupboard doors, use up leftovers the way I should, take care of the garden, polish shoes, or make certain dishes from his childhood that taste right.  He has learned though, that he is safe with me.  I don’t think it is my place to criticize my husband — there are lots of people out there that will do that.  He’s learned that I will do almost anything within my power to please him (well, except remember to close the cupboard doors, use up left overs the way I should . . . etc. etc.)

What has happened is that we have become good friends.  And though our house feels empty without our girlies rattling around in it, there is a comfortable friendship here that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  I am missing my girlies, but it isn’t because Certain Man is a stranger.  What comforts me so much is that he misses them, too.  It is something that has become a shared emotion.  And we are also comforted by the fact that just down the road, around a corner or two, is our new little grandbaby.  She really is an unusually precious baby.  So sweet, so beautiful, so very wanted, so very loved.  I watched him today with her, as he toted her around to show her off to his co-workers and I wondered again about how we got to where we are — parents, grandparents, both of us a little creaky in our bones, but still so very much friends.  I respect the man he has become, and enjoy so much to see him as he relates to his children and now his grandbaby.  I always said that he would be “insufferable” as a grandpa, and I was completely right.  He is absolutely “insufferable!”  

And I love it.

 

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And the latest news from the three travelers

You might want to post this in two segments, because I don’t think I’ll be able to post again for a while. And it is pretty long. (Note from Mom — I didn’t.  Mainly because I didn’t know where to stop  . . . )

From Lisboa, we went to Madrid by train. There was one older lady in the compartment with us, and thank goodness she was there! In the morning, she went over to the mirror and opened it up (which we didn’t know to do), and behind it were 4 water bottles, toothbrushes and paste, soap and a paper towel! We have used our three bottles for water ever since, and they work better than the one Rach brought, which leaks. None of us slept great on the train, but it wasn’t too bad. And we arrived safe and sound in Madrid.

Our hostel was walking distance from everywhere the guidebook recommended we see. We strolled down to the Palacio Real (King’s Palace, officially the royal residence, but the king doesn’t actually live there.), stopping by the Puerta del Sol. I hope that’s spelled right. It’s the place from which all distances in Spain are measured, but was under construction for some reason, so really boring.

The line to the Palacio was extremely long, and it’s pretty expensive, and we decided that seeing it was enough. We sat on the steps of the Catedral de la Almudena or Almuneda. I can’t remember which. It was only 1 euro to see the cathedral, so we went there, then bought lunch at a little grocery store (yea for cheap food!!!!) and went back to our hostel for lunch. And siesta. Rach has decided that the idea of the whole country taking a nap in the afternoon then staying up till way late is wonderful.

In the afternoon, we went to the park, then on to El Prado museam (It’s free after 6 pm.) I won’t bore you with the details, cause it was basically a museam. But I do like Goya’s paintings. The one guy looked so smug. How does anyone manage to paint such realistic expressions? My people look sort of happy or sad, but that’s it.

The next day we went to Segovia. It was once the capitol of . . . part. . .of Spain. Queen Isabella the Catholic is from there. There are parts of the castle there that are the same as they were in her days. Even a few of the furnishings. Queen Isabella , who alonge with her husband, Ferdinand, conquered all of Spain, is the queen that gave Colombus the funds to sail to the New World, but that happened here, in Granada, where we are now. The castle, or Alcazar is very well preserved, and one of my favorite places to visit. You can imagine you’re back in the 15th century using very little imagination.

Also in Segovia is an enormous Roman aqueduct. I think it’s 28 meters high at it’s highest point. Other than the last three feet where the water ran, it is made entirely without mortar. Very cool. Rachel tried to climb up one of the little bits of it (you can walk all around it, and touch it), and this little old Spanish man came up and yelled at us in Spanish: “This is a national monument and a world heritage site. It is prohibited to climb it! if you do, the police will come for you!” So we gave up the idea.

We did take in some of the night life in the Plaza Mayor, I went the one night, and Rach and Holly went the second night without me. There are so many people, and street performers, and a lady made a toilet paper sculpture using the air from a grate. And the second night, there was a fire juggler. It’s just different here. No one goes to bed until midnightish. In fact, we met more drunks on the metro at 7 am than at any other time.

We missed the train to Granada, even though we were there 4 hours early. The train was “compleato”. That was not fun, to put it mildly. I went ahead and got reservations to Barcelona (our next trip), and we found a bus station. There was a bus leaving for Granada half an hour before our train was to leave, and it arrived in Granada 15 minutes before our train would have. We prayed so hard that we would find some kind of transportation to Granada, and that it would be cheap. It was only 16.50 each! I believe that our train reservations would have been more than that. So far, our Eurail passes have not proved worth it. On our way to Segovia, the train was full, and if we took a later train, TICKETS were 15 euro, RESERVATIONS ONLY were 19 euro, the bus, (which we took) was available, and only 12.75, round trip. Right now, we are wondering why we bought the Eurail tickets in the first place. I’m starting to keep track of how much we are (will be) saving as we travel. So far, we’re in the hole.

I cannot say enough good things about Kevin and Wendy or Conrad and Heidi. Both couples opened their homes to us, fed us like queens, let us do laundry, loaned us towels (that’s a big deal to us), recommended places to visit, took us there, and did I mention food? I was a little nervous about crashing in on them while on vacation, but they have made us feel so welcome! I can’t descibe it.

Okay, I’m almost done.

The Alhambra of Spain. I have wanted to visit this since I read about it when I was ten or eleven. It wasn’t what I was expecting. They are doing reconstruction on a lot of it, and there are many places where you can no longer go, but WOW. It’s beautiful, and old, and so majestic. Here was the last stronghold of Islam in Europe, and with it’s defeat, Europe was considered a Christian continent. The war here was considered a noble war, where each side sent the bodies of the dead back to their people so that they could be given appropriate burial. When Boabdil conceded defeat, legend says that when he started to kneel before Ferdinand, Ferdinand embraced him beacuse of the great respect they had for each other. I still think it’s sad. The Moors loved their city, and cherished it for hundreds of years. Ferdinand and Isabella made Granada the capitol, and were buried here, but only two more kings ruled from here (One of which built a weird castle in the middle of the Alhambra, which doesn’t look right and was never finished.) before one of the kings decided to make Madrid the capitol, and left Granada and the Alhambra to decay. Napoleon’s troops did much of the damage, and at the time of Washington Irving, there were squatters living there.

As we were hiking up to the Alhambra, Holly said, “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” We teased her about that, since this place was conquered by “Christian soldiers”.

Today, we saw the actual caskets and statues made from death masks of Ferdinand and Isabella, and saw the Cathedral here. We also took pictures of the statue of Queen Isabella giving Christopher Colombus permission to sail, which as I mentioned happened here, at the Alhambra, later in the same year that they conquered the city. In fact, they were cash poor because of the military campaign, and had to give him jewels instead, which he sold to finance the journey. The museam at their burial place had some very cool things. For instance, there are actual outfits that Isabella and Ferdinand wore – one each, her crown, his sword, and the very flags that the Cristian army first raised over the Alhambra in 1492. *Shivers*

And now you’re up to date on the more interesting sites we’ve seen. Heidi has some pics on her blog, and Matt Wolfer (cousin) said he would put at least one of all of us on their blog “Roving around the World, I believe, and upload some to his flicker site, which I don’t know how to do. Holly managed to get one on her blog, Hollyhearsawho, I think, and if we can ever get our computer convinced that “msn.com” and “facebook.com” are actually domain names (It says unknown when we try.), we’ll get some of the pics on my computer to the web.

~Deborah

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I had the sweetest surprise by mail today.  One of my Mama’s cousins, Mary Alice (Slabaugh) Fouts sent me a mysterious envelope.  When I opened it, I found the following note: 

Dear Mary Ann-
   Found this pic. while cleaning out photos . . . I think we may have sent your parents one at the time, tho-  I’m not sure of that.  Anyway, isn’t this a good picture?  I just love it, and it reminds me of a very special visit that we had.  Thought you and your dear Mama should have it.

               Love in our Saviour-
                           Mary Alice

 

And this is the picture she included:

 

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My Precious Daddy and my Sweet Mama, 11-25-85

 

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